GRE Verbal : Nouns and Verbs in Three-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted into the sentence, best completes the sentence.

The middle-aged manager was able to __________ any of his subordinates without mercy, leaving them with little sense of __________ after he let forth his piercing __________.

Possible Answers:

decimate . . . direction . . . instigations

berate . . . value . . . verbiage

slaughter . . . vitality . . . words

disabuse . . . merit . . . inquiries

disparage . . . worth . . . invective

Correct answer:

disparage . . . worth . . . invective

Explanation:

The most tempting wrong answer is likely the set "berate . . . value . . . verbiage"; however, several factors work in favor of the ultimately correct set, "disparage . . . worth . . . invective." Clearly, the last word should capture the sense of being forceful and negative. This already weighs in favor of "invective." The real key to the sentence is noting the synergy between "disparage" and "worth," for disparaging remarks are those that regard someone as having little worth; therefore, these three words work together much more closely than do the three potentially tempting words mentioned above.

Example Question #2 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted into the sentence, best completes the sentence.

She hoped that the __________ that she put on the wound would __________ her discomfort, but instead it actually __________ her condition, and she had to return to the hospital.

Possible Answers:

liniment . . . allay . . . exacerbated

ligament . . . allay . . . quelled

liniment . . . perpetuate . . . quelled

exegesis . . . atrophy . . . exacerbated

ligament . . . perpetuate . . . elucidated

Correct answer:

liniment . . . allay . . . exacerbated

Explanation:

The first answer must be something to soothe, like a soothing lotion, or "liniment." The second must be a synonym for lessen, like "allay," and the third must be a synonym for make worse, such as "exacerbate."

 

Example Question #3 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Milton had __________ five pints of the fluid, wholly unaware of the __________ effects that it would have on him; however, within several hours, the quick __________ of illness proved that the drink contained something poisonous.

Possible Answers:

Fixated . . . bestowing  . . . arrival   

devoured . . .  toxic . . . recession

consumed . . . wholesome . . . failure

imbibed . . .  insalubrious . . . onset

gorged . . . amazing . . . misconduct

Correct answer:

imbibed . . .  insalubrious . . . onset

Explanation:

The best clue in this sentence is the statement that the drink contained something poisonous. Milton was unaware of this, but it clearly was the case. Thus, the second blank is best answered by "insalubrious" (unhealthy) or "toxic". Now, the first blank does not work well with words like "devoured," "consumed," and "gorged." All of these really refer to solid food, not liquid. The word "imbibed" comes from the Latin for to drink and means basically that in English. Finally, the word "onset" expresses well the fact that the effects of the poisonous brew became evident quickly.

Example Question #4 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Having __________ the great __________ of war, a soldier, no matter how great his or her devotion may be, will likely retain a keen __________ of the horrors of battle.

Possible Answers:

judged . . . battles . . . sense

hailed . . . surprises . . . oversight

witnessed . . . atrocities . . . awareness

undertaken . . . victories . . . vision

adjudicated . . . campaigns . . . regalia

Correct answer:

witnessed . . . atrocities . . . awareness

Explanation:

The best first clue for this sentence is the word "horrors." This indicates that the sentence is talking about more than mere battles and happenings of war. The second blank is best filled by "atrocities," which means extremely horrible events, often because of great injuries and death that are caused. The other two blanks are then easily filled given that the sentence is talking about the general experience of such horrors. Any soldier who has been a witness to such horrors will be quite aware of their reality.

Example Question #5 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Étienne had decided to undertake both __________, though they seemed to be __________ difficult, for he trusted in his indomitable will to __________ through hardship.

Possible Answers:

negations . . . plainly . . . promote

machinations . . . regularly . . . tread

reflections . . . increasingly  . . . power

tasks . . . insuperably . . . persevere

theories . . . intellectually . . . speculate

Correct answer:

tasks . . . insuperably . . . persevere

Explanation:

The best first clue for this sentence is "his indomitable will." The root "domi-" can come from "dominus" in Latin, meaning lord. (Do not confuse this with "domus", meaning house and found in the English "domicile.") When something is "indomitable," it has no lord; it cannot be overcome. The simple word "tasks" works well enough for the first blank. We really only know that Étienne has a general undertaking—tasks. Something that is "insuperable" is not able to be overcome. Trusting in his undefeatable will, Étienne thinks he can overcome such seemingly impossible tasks. The implication is that he trusts that he can outlast such hardships. Hence, he can "persevere" through them.

Example Question #6 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the set of words that best completes the following sentences.

The sudden and unexpected rise of unemployment among the city’s college graduates is __________, and has caused a significant amount of __________ in the local higher education community. In light of this trend, the mayor’s speech about the unlimited opportunities offered to the city’s college graduates seemed __________ and naive.

Possible Answers:

caustic . . . floundering . . . guileless

antediluvian . . . conflagration . . . exorbitant

inchoate . . . prevarication . . . specious

aberrant . . . antipathy . . . dogmatic

disquieting . . . discomfiture . . . fatuous

Correct answer:

disquieting . . . discomfiture . . . fatuous

Explanation:

We know based on the context of the sentence that the first blank is describing some undersirable or negative characteristic regarding the rise in unemployment. Given this context, "disquieting," meaning upsetting or concerning, and "aberrant," meaning departing from a norm, could both make sense. "Antidiluvian," meaning outdated, "inchoate," meaning undeveloped or in an early stage of development, and "caustic," meaning sarcastic or biting, don't make sense here. This narrows our choices to either "disquieting . . . discomfiture . . . fatuous" or "aberrant . . . antipathy . . . dogmatic."

We can see from the context that the second blank describes some negative reaction resulting from the increase in unemployment. "Discomfiture," meaning an unsettling or disconcerting state, and "antipathy" meaning aversion or antagonism, could both potentially work. Moving to the final sentence, we know that based on early information detailing the rise in unemployment, the mayor's speech about "unlimited opportunities" seems untimely and silly. "Dogmatic," meaning opinionated or dictatorial, doesn't really fit perfectly; however, "fatuous," meaning silly, naive, or pointless, does make sense given the context. Thus, we know the correct final answer is "diquieting . . . discomfiture . . . fatuous."

Example Question #7 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the set of words that best completes the following sentences.

While it is easy to __________ the virtues of a healthy diet, it is also important to avoid extreme __________. Mental health must be balanced with physical health, and some diets are so __________ and taxing in their requirements that any dietary benefits are outweighed by the emotional fatigue they cause.

Possible Answers:

laud . . . probity . . . panegyric 

descry . . . deprecation . . . enervating 

occlude . . . philanthropy . . . noisome 

condone . . . veracity . . . tractable

extol . . . asceticism . . . onerous

Correct answer:

extol . . . asceticism . . . onerous

Explanation:

The context for the first two blanks might not be readily apparent, but if we jump to the final sentence, we are able to provide some context for the first sentence. We know based on the final sentence that some diets are "taxing" and emotionally draining, and that a balanced approach to diets is advisable. Using this information, we can go back to the first blank and infer that the first blank implies some positive action or attitude regarding diets, which the second blank qualifies in some way. "Extol," meaning praise, "condone," meaning accept, and "laud," meaning praise emphatically, all could make sense. "Descry," meaning see, and "occlude," meaning obstruct, don't really seem to fit in the meaning of the sentence. 

This allows us to narrow our options to "extol . . . asceticism . . . onerous," "condone . . . veracity . . . tractable," and "laud . . . probity . . . panegyric." Given that we know that it is easy to act in some positive way toward diets, but that the end of the sentence advises us to not be too extreme in some action toward those diets, "asceticism," meaning unindulgent self-discipline, certainly makes sense, and "probity," meaning strong principles, also potentially works. "Veracity," meaning truth, does not really fit in the sentence. Given the context of the final sentence, advocating for a balance between mental and physical health, "onerous," meaning burdensome, makes perfect sense. "Panegyric," meaning a speech that praises something or someone, does not fit at all. As such, we know the right answer is "extol . . . asceticism . . . onerous."

Example Question #8 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the set of words that best completes the following sentences.

Although his arrogant attitude ensured that he was not well liked around the office, everyone was still __________ to learn that the CEO had committed such an __________ crime. It was hard to imagine someone so __________ and pompous doing something so base and undignified.

Possible Answers:

buttressed . . . inane . . . trifling

chagrined  . . . fetid . . . wearisome

bewildered . . . insipid . . . prodigious

nonplussed . . . laborious . . . cumbersome

flabbergasted . . . odious . . . highfalutin

Correct answer:

flabbergasted . . . odious . . . highfalutin

Explanation:

Based on the context of these two sentences, we can tell that the individual in question has commited some "base and undignified crime." Furthermore, based on the use of "hard to imagine," we know that, even though he wasn't well-liked, his employees still felt that his actions were surprising. As such, we can reasonably infer that the first blank will involve conveying a sense of surprise or shock, that the second blank will in some way describe the severity of the crime committed, and that the third blank will describe a characteristic that contrasts with "base and undignified." 

Given this, "flabbergasted," meaning astonished, and "bewildered," meaning perplexed, both could make sense for the first blank. "Nonplussed," meaning unphased, would clearly not work here. "Chagrined," meaing embarassingly vexed, isn't completely nonsensical, but doesn't quite fit given the context. "Buttressed," meaning supported, also does not work. This narrows our options down to "flabbergasted . . . odious ... highfalutin," or "bewildered . . . insipid . . . prodigious." 

Moving to the next blank, we can see that "odious" is a definite possibility, as it means revolting. "Insipid," meaning unimaginative, does not seem to work quite as well. This is confirmed when we examine the final blank, in which "prodigious," meaning impressively large, gives a nonsensical meaning to the sentence. By contrast, "hghfalutin," meaning pompous, fits the context perfectly, and so by process of elimination, we are left with the correct answer: "flabbergasted . . . odious . . . highfalutin."

Example Question #9 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the set of words that best completes the following sentences.

Artistically, Harish was a __________ talent of nearly unmatched __________; however, he had no patience for the financial side of his chosen profession, and his work was often outsold by painters with less talent, but who possessed superior business __________.

Possible Answers:

hapless . . . ingenuity . . . perspicuity 

opaque . . . steadfastness . . . assiduity 

quiescent . . . rectitude . . . providence

auspicious . . . diligence . . . encomium  

singular . . . virtuosity . . . acumen

Correct answer:

singular . . . virtuosity . . . acumen

Explanation:

Based on the fact that the sentence describes certain other painters as having less talent than Harish, we can infer that the first blank, followed by the word "talent," will have some positive meaning. Since the second blank, following "unmatched," seems to reinforce the positively characterized talent in the first blank, we can infer that the second blank is probably some noun or adjective that would support this claim. Since the sentence makes clear that Harish is not very business-minded, and that he is often outsold by less-talented painters, we can infer that the final blank, following the phrase "superior business . . .," is probably some noun that describes some postive skill or quality relating to business. 

Given the aforementioned context for the first blank, "singular," meaning unique, and "auspicious," meaning promising, both could potentially work. "Quiescent," meaning dormant, and "opaque," meaning non-transparent, don't seem to fit well. Similarly, "hapless," meaning unlucky, also doesn't make much sense. This leaves us with two answer possibilities: "singular . . . virtuosity . . . acumen," and "auspicious . . . diligence . . . encomium."

"Virtuosity," meaning mastery, and "diligence," meaning persistence, both potentially work for the second blank, so we are still not able to eliminate either option. Moving to the third blank, "acumen," meaning cleverness in a specific field, clearly makes sense for the third blank; however, "encomium," meaning a written text that praises someone or something, makes no sense at all. This gives us our answer: "singular . . . vituosity . . . acumen." 

Example Question #10 : Nouns And Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the set of words that best completes the following sentences.

The philosophy professor was so __________ that she was able to transform the most __________ and commonplace of daily routines into sources of rich discussion. She demonstrated how activities as __________ as morning hygiene rituals could reveal deep insights into human nature.

Possible Answers:

forlorn . . . contingent . . . ersatz

enrapturing . . . prosaic . . . quotidian

opaque . . . arcane . . . omnipresent 

lucid . . . quentessential . . . fraught

muddled . . . inchoate . . . intoxicating 

Correct answer:

enrapturing . . . prosaic . . . quotidian

Explanation:

Based on the context, we can tell that the professor has some quality (first blank) that makes her able to transform some routines that are some description similar to "commonplace" (second blank) into a source of rich discussion. We also know that the third blank is some adjective qualifying "morning hygiene rituals," and that it probably contrasts with adjectives that would be used to describe something that would typically "reveal deep insights into human nature."

For the first blank, "enrapturing," meaning captivating, and "lucid," meaning clear, could both make sense. "Forlorn," meaning pitiful or hopeless, "muddled," meaning confused, and "opaque," meaning non-transparent, don't work well at all. This narrows our options to "enrapturing . . . prosaic . . . quotidian" and "lucid . . . quentessential . . . fraught." 

"Prosaic," meaning everyday, could clearly work as a qualifier of "routines." "Quintessential," meaning a good model or example of something, doesn't fit perfectly as a description of routine. Moving to the third blank, "quotidian," meaning everyday, definitely makes sense as a description of "morning hygiene rituals," whereas "ersatz," meaning substitute, does not. This leaves us with the correct answer, "enrapturing . . . prosaic . . . quotidian."

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